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What's the best way to become fluent in a foreign language?

I've been studying several East Asian languages and so far, I've tried taking formal classes and online courses, self-teaching through textbooks, and using spaced repetition. I've also heard that immersion is a good way to learn, so I've been trying to implement more of that into my routine as well. In your opinion, what is the most effective way to become fluent in another language? If you have learned a second language, what method(s) worked best for you? #foreign-languages #language #studying-tips

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Stephan’s Answer

The absolute best way is to live in a country where the language is spoken. If you are in a college program you could try to do a semester abroad.
Other than that, you could try living in a neighborhood in your city where there is a community of native speakers of the language.
After that, you could immerse yourself in media; go to radio.garden, navigate to a country on the map where the language is spoken, and look for a radio station that has a lot of talk so you can hear the daily news or other interviews. You could also go to youtube and look for stations from countries that speak the language.
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Jasanpreet Kaur’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

The answer to your above question is - Practice!

The more your practice, the more fluent you will be.

Apply this: On Reading, Writing, Speaking, and listening.

That's the key to mastering any language of the world.

I hope my answer is helpful!

All the best!

studying-tips tipstostudy learninglanguages foreignlanguage
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Eleanor’s Answer

You're well on your way! Yes, immersion makes a huge difference! I had studied French throughout high school and college, but it was a totally different world when I spent a semester in France. You'll find that what you learn in the formal education versus what's spoken in conversation can be night and day different. Something that helps if you can find it is watching a news broadcast in the language you're learning. The anchors will have the exact accent you need to emulate, and you'll see/hear the cultural undertones to the words. Something that can be a challenge for non-native speakers is word-for-word translations versus conveying the sentiment in the appropriate context.
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Karina’s Answer

Hello Ashley,
I think immersion is the most effective way of learning a new language. If you practice speaking that language everyday with someone who is fluent, you will understand it faster. Also, watching tv/videos in that foreign language can help as well.
Good luck!
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Rebecca’s Answer

You may have already heard of the idiom 'Practise makes perfect'. You would need to find opportunities to practise the language you have learnt. The best you can stay in the country for a period so that you can speak more. However, due to the pandemic it may be difficult.
Below are a few suggestions :
1. You can speak more with the teacher to have gain more opportunities to practise
2. Watch the movies in that language
3. Try to make some friends who speak in that language
4. Explore any opportunities to be exchange student of that country. It will be a good opportunity for you to learn the culture of the country, practise the language and make some local friends.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Dawn’s Answer

Hi Ashley - outside of using language apps and taking classes I found it very helpful to listen to music and tv shoes in the language that I was learning. In the beginning I didn't understand a word but as I learned more (through schools and the apps) it was easier for me to understand because I has been listening to the accents for awhile.
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James’s Answer

When I was learning Italian, I watched many movies in Italian with English subtitles and listened to hundreds of songs in Italian. This is fun way to both practice the language and understand more of the culture. This has been already discussed above, but daily practice is key to fluency. Try to set aside some time each day to improve your skills - I particularly enjoyed listening to songs in Italian because I could spent the 15-20 minutes a day on them.
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Paul’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

The journey to fluency can be fun and exciting! A great method to learn and achieve fluency is by immersing yourself in YouTube videos about the language you're keen to learn. Make sure to jot down important points from these videos, it will help you remember better.

A fantastic resource for many languages is LanguagePod101. It's a great platform to obtain the basics. Once you've learned and noted down the key aspects of the languages you're studying, it is time to put them into practice. Don't hesitate to go out there and put your new language skills to use in real-world situations for example ordering in a restaurant in a foreign language or asking for directions as well.

Remember, practice is the key to mastering anything new. So, keep at it and you'll see progress in no time!

Here's the link to LanguagePod101 to get you started: https://languagepod101.com/

Happy learning, Ashley!
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Julia’s Answer

Hello!
In my opinion, the best way to learn a language and make sure that it sticks is by practicing with a friend or mentor. This really helps correct mispronunciation and also learn nuances or slang that is commonly used. These things probably are not addressed in formal learning courses, so I highly recommend!
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Kathy’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

As as East Asian person myself, who has also studied other East Asian languages (other than my mother tongue), the best advice I will give you is to immerse yourself into the language and culture, as if you were actually in that particular country, as best as you can. When studying Korean, I would change the language of all of my devices, browsers, etc. to Korean, watch and consume Korean media (TV shows, movies, and even News channels), follow Korean native speakers on social media, and more. I also tried to surround myself with more folks who were learning Korean as well as spoke Korean (either in-person or virtually) so that I could continue challenging myself and continue learning even in my free-time.

My next steps for you are just suggestions based off of what I had previously done to become proficient in learning Korean, along with other East Asian languages. Hope they help you as much as they helped me!

Kathy recommends the following next steps:

Research the best resources for learning that particular language that includes both text and audio/visual resources and hone in on those resources.
Create a daily schedule for learning and try your best to stick to it! Be sure to include time for: learning/reviewing vocabulary, grammar, and watching/listening of native speakers (watching a tv show/film, listen to a podcast, etc. in that language).
Connect with native speakers virtually or in-person and hone in on your practical skills! The more you use what you learn, the better you become at it.
Consider online, in-person language courses, clubs or organizations that will give you the chance to speak with more people learning & speaking the language.
Make the effort to speak to a native speaker, at least once a week!
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Si’s Answer

You pretty much got all the strategies. In addition to what you mentioned, another thing that worked for me was watching videos (e.g., movies) in the language and voice-acting my favorite snippets. Good luck!
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